Time must already be accelerating, because it feels like just yesterday that you were three months old.
But everything around you attests to the passage of time. My favorite floral jumper that doesn’t snap anymore. The coral stripe footsie pajamas that are much too short. Your little portable bed that’s also too short. All of your headbands that leave impressions in your skin after you wear them. The changing pad that’s barely longer than you are now.
None of these markers should surprise me. We found out at your four-month appointment that you’re now 26 inches long (96th percentile) and 15 pounds (69th percentile overall; 25th percentile in proportion to length) — and your brain has been very busy growing, because your head is now 16.25 inches around (70th percentile). It’s hard to believe that you were once the baby who had to go to the doctor for twice weekly weight checks. Now all of your growth charts are nearly straight vertical lines.
You’re also growing into all of your abilities, honing your skills. Tummy time is now accompanied by smiles, as you hold your head high and look around. Being swept up into the air used to scare you, but now playing airplane is one of your favorite things. You can now put your thumb directly into your mouth instead of needing to gnaw on your whole hand for awhile in hopes that the thumb finds its way in. You would almost always rather sit than lay down. We now have whole car rides without crying. You barely need your little towel in the bath anymore (although you still get so happy when we wrap you in it, because you know that it means it’s time for your bath). And I’ll never forget the astonished look on your face the first time you really saw yourself in the mirror.
But my favorite, hands down, is all of the talking. Where there were once noises with occasional word-like interjections, there’s now babbling for minutes upon minutes. And there are talkative moments of particular sweetness: when you lay in my arms before bed, after your bottle, and coo at me; when you and other babies babble conversationally; when I hear you wake up from a nap and lay in your crib talking to yourself; when we have quiet mornings at home together and you have so much to tell me after a whole night apart. I’m not sure if you just have a lot to say or if you needed a way to start communicating with the other babies at Montessori school, but either way, it’s the highlight of my whole day.
You have already discovered your fondness for screens, which I’m sure is bad for your brain but it’s hard to resist letting you watch a little football on the weekends when you get so excited watching it. Your penchant for moving lights also makes it easy for us to practice our selfies.
You also give me glimpses into the baby you’ll soon be. Like when you sit in your bumbo chair on the dining table, watching us intently while we eat. Or when you lay under your activity gym and amuse yourself. Or just in the last few days, the way you’ve started reaching for and grabbing your toys differently — with much more focus and precision.
At the same time, you give me glimpses into the baby you once were — like when you fall asleep on my chest or in my arms, or when you’d rather grab and squeeze my fingers than any toy.
Of baby past, baby present, and baby future, I couldn’t possibly choose a favorite. I love them all — because they are all you, the joy of my heart. Happy four month birthday, baby girl.